One of the Oldest Bibles, Divided Geographically, to be United in Cyberspace
The story of the discovery of the Codex Sinaiticus, at the Monastery of Saint Catherine on Mount Sinai in Egypt, by Constantin von Tischendorf, during his three visits to the monastery from 1844 to 1859, is one of the most romantic and complicated in book history. Along with the the Codex Alexandrinus and the Codex Vaticanus, this is one of the three earliest complete manuscripts of the Old and New Testaments in Greek. As a result of its unusual history, the sheets of the Codex Sinaitcus are divided between the British Library, the National Library of Russia, Saint Catherine's Monastery, and Leipzig University Library, with the largest portion of the manuscript preserved in the British Library, having been purchased in 1933 by the British Museum from the Russian Government for 100,000 pounds.
By cooperative agreement between the four institutions, the geographically separated portions of the manuscript will be united on a new website, which opened on July 24, 2008. Among its many attractive and useful features, the new website states in its history section that the "recent" history of the manuscript is being researched, using documents that were previously unavailable, with the intriguing implication that the romantic history of the discovery and dispersal of the manuscript may be revised. One detail from this section is already different from the traditional view of the history. Previous authorities stated that von Tischendorf discovered the manuscript in 1859, at which time he took it back to Russia. The website seems to indicate that Tischendorf removed leaves from the Codex Sinaiticus from Saint Catherine's Monastery on his first two visits in 1844 and 1853, and not just in 1859.